Water Dragon

Visit Japan: Kiyomizudera, Japan

Do you know why there is a wash basin at temples?
naze tearaiba ha otera ni aru ka shitteimasu ka.

How to say in Japanese: Wash

Before entering the temple, you have to 洗う arau wash your hands and mouth. It is said that Izanami, the deity that gave birth to Japan, 洗った aratta washed herself in the river after brought back to life from the underworld which was thought as a dirty place. For that reason, Japanese people 洗う arau wash their hands and mouth before entering temples.

For details, learn why Japanese wash their hands and mouth before entering temples.


The Tulip

Visit Japan: Kiyomizudera, Japan

What a vibrant tulip !!
 nanto azayakana chu-rippu desu ne.

How to say in Japanese: Tulip
During the 1600s, チューリップ chu-rippu tulips were so valuable that their bulbs were worth more than gold.


How to Learn Japanese Effectively with Textbooks and Blogs


The essential Japanese textbooks
There are 2 process that goes hand-in-hand when learning language. The not-so-fun way and the fun way. Usually it is the not-so-fun way first. That is the textbooks.

Why do we use Japanese textbooks first?
When we want to learn any language, we start with the basics. What are the basics? The usual components that makes up a sentence.

In English, we learn "I am, you are, he is, they are, etc".
In Japanese, we learn "ha (wa), ga, wo, ni, no, etc".
It is a general rule which is fixed. No rule is interesting. Despite being not interesting, it is an impartial part of the learning process where we must master.
Furthermore, textbooks are usually too wordy. You get tired even before you started reading.

When does it get interesting?
Once we are good with the basics, the rest is pretty much a matter of creativity. Language itself is an art. The same thing can be expressed in so many different ways with so many words and different grammars.
Where can we find the widest variety of different ways to express the same thing? Blogs!!
For example, just type さくら sakura cherry blossom + blog in Google and you will find thousands of blogs telling their experience from their perspective in their very own words.
Read through blogs that usually come with pictures. See how they use words to describe their emotions.
Furthermore, blogs usually use simple everyday words and grammars to convey their message. This makes blog very practical.
On top of that, the pictures, the story telling and the jokes simply makes reading a pleasure rather than pressure. No exams or quiz after that.

Combining Textbooks and Blogs
Study with textbooks and learn with blogs. Textbooks might be boring, but it is important that you learn the basics. But don`t let the boredom wear you down. Once you are good with the basics, jump to blogs and explore. Learn from from blogs with fun. See How to Learn Japanese Using Blogs. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun learning.

The Bell

Visit Japan: Kiyomizudera, Kyoto

What is behind these plants?

A big big BELL!

How to say in Japanese: Bell

kane Bell can be a tool for communication, instrument of music or simply just a piece of art.


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Come in and don`t be stingy

Visit Japan: Kyoto, Japan

Mr Raccoon welcomes you.
Arai guma san ha anata wo kangei shimasu.

How to say in Japanese: Welcome

Actually it is not a raccoon but a fox (tanuki). It is to 歓迎する kangei suru welcome you into the restaurant or bars. It is a sign of saying "come in and don`t be stingy".


Kyoto Station

Visit Japan: Kyoto, Japan

The journey around Kyoto began here.
kyoutou wo mawaru tabi ha koko de hajimarimashita.

How to say in Japanese: Journey

tabi Journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step.


Japanese Breakfast

Visit Japan: Kyoto, Japan

Regular Japanese breakfast of rice, miso soup, pickles, half-boiled egg and a cup of green tea.
teiban no nihon choushoku no kome, miso shiru, tsukemono hanjuku tamago to ocha desu.

How to say in Japanese: Breakfast

Eat 朝食 choushoku breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a poor man

朝食 choushoku = 朝ごはん asa gohan = breakfast


Travel Penang: Kek Lok Si Temple


Kek Lok Si Temple: The Floating City of Light

    Although I have been staying in Penang for more than 20 over years. It was the first time I visited Kek Lok Si Temple at night. What drove me to this temple is that the temple only light up at night for 30 days only during the 旧正月 kyuushougatsu Chinese New Year celebration. On other nights, you cannot enjoy such great view. If you travel to Penang at in January, make sure you visit the Kek Lok Si temple.

    You will be able to see Kek Lok Si temple from afar. The entire temple are lighted up in various 色 iro colors. Kek Lok Si temple is located on a higher grounds. So when it turns dark at night, it looks as though it is 浮かんでいる ukandeiru floating in the air.  

The Colors of Light Illuminates Kek Lok Si Temple

Along the way in the corridors of the Kek Lok Si temple, I was greeted with thousands and thousands of 提灯 chouchin lanterns.

   Mostly in 赤 aka red for good luck and 黄色 kiiro yellow for success. It was filled with Chinese New Year mood with all these lanterns hanging around.

   There were also some other light decorations such as the floral decorations which were made in such a way that it looked like クラゲ kurage jelly fish.

Kuan Yin Pavilion: The Pride of Kek Lok Si Temple

At the highest point of the Kek Lok Si temple, lies the great Kuan Yin Pavilion. It was completed and opened in 2009. It was really worthy to pay for RM4 to take the inclined tram that will bring you up there. You may walk or drive up there too. The first thing you will see once you reach there is the awe-inspiring Kuan Yin pavilion with an octagonal roof supported by 16 delicately carved 柱 hashira pillars. その時 sono toki At that moment, it is just gonna make you jaw drop with "Wow" coming out from your mouth.

Take this opportunity to drop on your knees before Kuan Yin (The Goddess of Mercy) to thank her for all the great things that had happened to you, and お願いする onegai suru wish that all things will remain good for you and keep coming your way. I always count my blessings too when I pray. Don`t miss this chance when you travel to Penang

You know, when I pray, I always pray, "May I, my family, and people around me to be healthy, happy and peaceful always".
幸せ shiawase Happiness and 健康 kenkou health is the real wealth.

If you happened to travel to Penang during Chinese New Year, make sure to drop by the Kek Lok Si temple. It will definitely be a very memorable experience.

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Overlooking Penang

Visit Malaysia: Kek Lok Si

This is the view from Kuan Yin is facing. Can you see the tall tower?
kore ha kannon ga menshiteiru koukei desu. takai tawa- ga miraremasu ka.

How to say in Japanese: Tower

The タワー tawa- is called KOMTAR. It is said that KOMTAR is like the joss stick for Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin

Visit Malaysia: Kek Lok Si, Penang

Goddess of Mercy
kannon desu.

She will forgive you.
anata wo yurushimasu.

How to say in Japanese: Forgive
The stupid neither 許す yurusu forgive nor forget; the naive 許す yurusu  forgive and forget; the wise 許す yurusu forgive but do not forget.

The Pillars

Visit Malaysia: Kek Lok Si, Penang

The 4 pillars.
yon hon no hashira.

Each pillar is delicately carved.
sore zore no hashira ha komakaku horimashita.

How to say in Japanese: Pillar

There are 16 carved dragon 柱 hashira pillars to support the octagonal roof.



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The Kuan Yin Pavilion

Visit Malaysia: Kek Lok Si, Penang

The majestic Kuan Yin shelter.
doudou to shita kannon no sheruta- desu.

How to say in Japanese: Shelter

Do you know that the Kuan Yin シェルター sheruta- Shelter is about 20 storey high?

Cooperative Piggies

Visit Malaysia: Kek Lok Si, Penang

Let`s cooperate and carry this.
kyouryoku shite kore wo hakobimashou.

Oh this is heavy!!!

How to say in Japanese: Heavy

Did you know that the heaviest pig weigh as much as about 1000kg?

How to learn Japanese Using Blogs


Everyone learn something in their very own way. This applies to learning language as well.
For example, how I learn Japanese is different from how you do it. What might be effective for me might not work for you.

The same goes to blogs. Different blogs express themselves in different ways.
For example, picturelearning blogs by showing pictures to create a better visual impact to help  remembering words or phrases.

You have to look for the right blogs that suits your learning style and that helps you learn effectively.

The question is how do you know which blog is right for you?

1. Choose blogs that are short but impactful. 

We are busy with life everyday. Traders running businesses, housewife taking care of the family, employees working overtime, student studying for exams, etc. In the middle of this hectic life, we have not much time to spend on studying Japanese (or any language of interest). So choose blog that have short posts which are short enough to keep your attention, but not long enough to bore you. Most importantly, in that short span of your attention, you will learn something and remember it.

2. Choose blogs that tells stories

Let me tell you about an an experiment to test memory. At first, a few people were asked to remember cards as it were shown one by one. Most people can only remember up to 7 cards. But when they were told a story linking each card, they can remember more cards. Likewise, blogs that tell you stories will help you remember better.

3. Choose blogs that uses visual aid

Compare this

 vs  Red apple

Which makes a better impression?

Blogs are generally free nowadays, written by some dedicated people who loves to share their experience and knowledge, without asking for anything in return but your appreciation.
Choose the best blog that will help you learn effectively. With the internet, text books are outdated. This is a world of where study smart is so much easier. So, take this opportunity to learn effectively and study smartly with blogs.

The longest dog

Visit Malaysia: Kek Lok Si, Penang

I am a long dog, but I am not hotdog.
nagai inu desu ga, hottodoggu de ha arimasen.

How to say in Japanese: Long
Did you know the world`s 一番長い ichiban nagai longest hotdog is 203.8m?

Shortest Giraffe

Visit Malaysia: Kek Lok Si, Penang.

A giraffe can grow up to 6 meter tall.
Kirin ha 6 me-toru made sodachimasu.

How to say in Japanese: Meter
メートル me-toru Meter is a standard unit used widely around the world, but even some first world country such as America and England are still using feet.

1 メートル me-toru meter = 3 feet.

Naughty Turtles

Visit Malaysia: Kek Lok Si, Penang

One turtle is on top of the other.
ippiki no kame ha hoka no kame no ue ni agarimashita.

Hey turtle, don`t be naughty!!
hora...kamechan, itazura wo suru na!!

How to say in Japanese: Naughty

Parents should be able to understand the difference between active and いたずら itazura naughty. Just because a child is running around, does not mean that he/she is いたずら itazura naughty, it simply means he/she is active.


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